Emerging in little video grids on a black screen, the members of Andover Drumline appeared one by one, playing the opening beats of the group’s traditional first All School Meeting opening song, “Gunga,” some members with complete drum sets and others with buckets and canisters. Since not every member had professional percussion instruments at home, Drumline utilized homemade instruments in an effort to bring cheer to the Andover community.
“The beauty of percussion is you can hit anything and it’ll make a cool sound… The goal was just to bring energy to the community, and we just wanted to keep that going, especially this year when people really need that energy,” said Drumline Co-Head Kyle Garcia-Rogers ’21.
Given a week’s notice, Drumline started their video-making process by recording individual clips of members drumming to a fixed metronome beat. Garcia-Rogers then edited and combined these clips together, a process that was challenging due to volume constraints, according to Co-Head Cameron Kang ’21.
“One difficulty we had was Kyle trying to get all the sounds at an even volume. I was using my voice, which is not as loud as banging on buckets. There were more challenges than you would think, especially making sure that even if you do have a metronome in your ear, that people are on the beat,” said Kang.
Given the success of this initial virtual performance, Drumline plans on holding more throughout the year, as well as having virtual Zoom meetings to prepare for upcoming events. This is a sharp contrast from previous years where the group met two times a week in preparation for sports game performances, posing new challenges for the group.
“A lot of the time when we’re playing in person, we’re building off of each other’s playing, so that’s how a lot of our songs form; it’s a lot of sections that pass from drum to drum. It’s a lot harder to do that when you don’t hear the other sections when playing, so you have to figure it out by yourself,” said Garcia-Rogers.
Despite this year’s new dynamic, Drumline member Mary Muromcew ’22 expressed her optimism for other aspects of the year ahead, including involving more members, experiencing a different group dynamic, and experimenting with different percussion instruments in future video projects.
“There are no students in the Class of 2023 in Drumline, so I’m hoping to get some Lowers into the mix. Just get a new group going, have a new dynamic. Drumline changes every year just with new people [joining] and people leaving, it’s just a different experience. I’m excited for that. I’m hoping to maybe use a different instrument each time we record a video or instrument,” said Muromcew.